Jacques Bertrand

Director, Collaborative Master’s Specialization in Contemporary East and Southeast Asian Studies
Professor, Department of Political Science
Room 264S

Trinity College
1 Devonshire Place 
Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3K7 Canada

Headshot of Jacques Bertrand

Areas of interest

  • Ethnic conflict
  • Nationalism
  • Politics of Natural Resources
  • Inequality


Main Bio

Jacques Bertrand is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Collaborative Master’s Program in Contemporary East and Southeast Asian Studies (CESEAS, formerly Asia-Pacific Studies or MAPS). He was also founding Director of the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies at the Asian Institute (2010-12).  A graduate of Princeton University (PhD), he also holds degrees from the London School of Economics and McGill University. His work has focused mainly on ethnic conflict, nationalism, and democratic politics in Southeast Asia. He is currently working on a book manuscript titled Democratization and Substate Nationalist Conflict in Southeast Asia. He is also directing a United States Institute of Peace-funded project titled “Institutionalizing Minority Representation In Post-Transition Myanmar.”

Professor Bertrand also recently began a large comparative project on resource booms and inequality in emerging democracies, with a particular focus on Indonesia, South Africa and Brazil.

His work has been funded by several grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and twice by the United States Institute of Peace. Professor Bertrand was also co-investigator and executive member of a SSHRC Major Collaborative Research Initiative on Ethnicity and Democratic Governance.

His books include Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict in Indonesia (Cambridge, 2004); Multination States in Asia: Accommodation or Resistance (Cambridge, 2010); Political Change in Southeast Asia (Cambridge, 2013); Democratization and Ethnic Minorities: Conflict or Compromise? (Routledge, 2014); and Democracy and Nationalism in Southeast Asia (Cambridge, 2021).

He is a member of the editorial board of Pacific Affairs. He is also past President of Canadian Council for Southeast Asian Studies.

Select publications

  • Winning by Process: The State and Neutralization of Ethnic Minorities in Myanmar, co-authored with Alexandre Pelletier and Ardeth Maung Thawnghmung  (Cornell University Press, 2022) 
  • Democracy and Nationalism in Southeast Asia: From Secessionist Mobilization to Conflict Resolution (Cambridge University Press, 2021)
  • Democratization and Ethnic Minorities: Conflict or Compromise? edited with Oded Haklai (Routledge, 2014)
  • Political Change in Southeast Asia (Cambridge University Press, 2013)
  • Multination States in Asia: Accommodation or Resistance,:edited with André Laliberté (Cambridge University Press, 2010)
  • Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict in Indonesia (Cambridge University Press, 2004)

Awards & recognition

  • Dean’s Excellence Award, Arts and Sciences, U of Toronto 2013,  2004
  • William L. Holland prize for the outstanding article 2003


Politics and Transformation of the Asia Pacific
Democracy and Ethnic Conflict
Comparative Politics PhD Core